Announced at WWDC 2021, Universal Control is an upcoming feature that allows the user to work on multiple Apple devices with a single keyboard and cursor and enables effortless drag and drop. Here’s how it works and what you need.
Universal Control is a planned feature for iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. It allows users to place three Apple devices in close proximity and use that single keyboard and mouse or trackpad. Once associated, a user can easily drag and drop files between devices and switch between them as needed.
By placing a second device near a compatible Mac, you will be able to pair your devices through the Continuity features in the AirPlay & Handoff section in your Mac’s settings.
A gray bar will appear on the side of paired devices. By dragging the cursor from one screen to another, you can “transfer” keyboard and mouse control to another device. This can be especially useful for dragging documents, files, and images between devices.
Apple says that devices use proximity to determine which device a user wants to connect to. User behavior will select on which side of the screen the additional computer has been placed. This orientation can be controlled in the control panel of the monitors, but it is not entirely clear to what extent, and the feature is not yet available in beta versions.
The devices connect via a direct Wi-Fi signal. The user interface of dragging objects across devices disguises the fact that you are performing a simple AirDrop, but the result is the same.
Apple devices that support Universal Control on iPadOS 15 and macOS 12
- MacBook (2016 onwards)
- MacBook Air (2016 onwards)
- MacBook Pro (2016 onwards)
- iMad (2017 onwards)
- iMac Pro
- Mac mini (2018 onwards)
- Mac Pro
- iPad mini (5th generation onwards)
- iPad (6th generation onwards)
- iPad Air (3rd generation onwards)
- iPad Pro
Users will need to sign in to all devices through iCloud with the same Apple ID. Devices must have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and streaming enabled, and must be within 30 feet of each other, depending on Computer world.
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